Virgin Atlantic has launched a new holiday package, designed to remove travel uncertainty by guaranteeing a quarantine-free return to the UK.
This news comes after the airline reduced its passenger flying schedule for the month of November due to the UK lockdown.
The airline’s Escape Pass provides travellers with an ATOL-protected Caribbean holiday, inclusive of the airline’s Covid-19 cover and flexible booking policy.
Travellers will be asked to choose the length of stay (seven or 14 days), hotel rating, board basis (room-only or all-inclusive) and aircraft cabin (economy, premium or upper class).
Customers will then be notified of their destination and trip details two weeks before departure, with countries including Barbados, Antigua, Grenada and Tobago currently included in the package. The airline plans to roll this out to Jamaica and further Caribbean islands as they are added to the UK’s travel corridor list.
The Escape Pass starts at £759 per person for a seven-night holiday with direct economy flights, a 3V (Virgin’s hotel rating system) hotel on a room-only basis with transfers included (based on two people sharing).
The Pass currently covers travel between January 2, 2021, and April 28, 2021, and customers will have to pay the full balance eight weeks in advance of departure.
Note, however, that the guarantee of no quarantine is made at the time of departure, so customers might still face self-isolation upon return to the UK if the destination is taken off the travel corridor list while they are away.
Virgin Atlantic told Business Traveller:
“The quarantine guarantee is up to the point of departure. Escape Pass holidays are in the Caribbean where Covid-19 has been managed very effectively. All the islands we are including are on the travel corridor list and have been on there consistently throughout 2020. If travel restrictions change whilst customers are on holiday, we will work with them to try and get them home as soon as possible”.
Should Virgin Atlantic Holidays not be able to fulfil the promise, customers can either request a full refund or travel voucher.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented:
“We know customers are keen to get away on their next adventure after a difficult year. Top of the list is an idyllic holiday to the Caribbean, where the Covid-19 pandemic has been managed extremely well, allowing holiday makers to enjoy sun, sea and beaches safely. The Escape Pass has been created to take all the stress and uncertainty out of booking that dream Caribbean trip. Through this ATOL protected package, we will ensure customers are sent to a beautiful island with the peace of mind that they won’t need to quarantine on their return.
“We have implemented a comprehensive set of measures including enhanced cleaning of our aircraft, individual health packs for all our customers with medical grade face masks, and an improved service which minimises contact between our cabin crew and customers. Our teams have been working hard to ensure our customers can Fly Safe and Fly Well on their next trip and we look forward to safely welcoming our customers on board soon.”
The initiative comes after research revealed that over 66 per cent of British adults avoided booking a holiday this year over fears that changing travel regulations would force them to self-isolate, cut a trip short or cancel travel plans. Nevertheless, 54 per cent said they would be more likely to book a holiday if they had a 100 per cent guarantee that they would not have to self-isolate when they returned home. Additionally, with lockdown set to come to an end at the start of December, 31 per cent of those surveyed plan to take a holiday abroad provided that the new rules allow travel to occur.
The Escape Pass can be booked through the Virgin Atlantic Holidays call centre at 0344 472 9499.
Virgin Atlantic has recently increased its flights to the Caribbean region, resuming its services to Antigua and Grenada in October and announcing new flights from London Heathrow to St Vincent in June 2021.